Getting to Know… Joneser | Interview 🎤
Stas Verechuk, the frontman of Ukranian indie-rock band Joneser, makes the 70th interview on The Musical Hype among the best yet.
Brent Faulkner: Getting things started off right, for those who may not be familiar with Joneser, what would you say makes the band distinct or unique? How do you rock the audience’s socks off?
Stas Verechuk: In music, everything is just like in people. There are no two identical people. Similarly, there are no 2 identical bands. Or two identical songs. Even those things that are specifically trying to make them look like the original sample, differ in detail. But whether you see it or not, whether you can feel it, depends only on the degree of your personal development. Everything in the world is different. Know how to feel it. Your question indicates that you do not understand this. And it sounds like a question from a marketing textbook, urging us to look and stick out our own differences and make them as obvious as possible in order to win our part of the audience, bite off our part of the pie.
No, this is not my way. I make my own special music with all my sincerity. And if someone feels it, I won’t need to prove to him that I am doing something special. In any case, he will find my music and will listen to it.
Faulkner: An intriguing, passionate response to say the least – definitely got my wheels turning. Just to clarify, I certainly understand where you’re coming from artistically and philosophically – I’m a musician myself. Furthermore, the posed question was never intended as marketing but rather to provide a forum to characterize yourself musically, which I feel is important to be able to do as a musician. Moving forward! Let’s explore some juicy backstories. How did your Joneser form and what were some of the goals or the visions you had early on?
Stas Verechuk: Hi there. I’m Stas Verechuk and I’m the frontman of Ukrainian indie-rock band Joneser created by myself in Kiev in 2017. Till September 2019 I was the only person in this project looking for my special sound without giving any concerts.
During 2017-2018 I released the single “Chas” (02.11.2017) and the album, Vilni (06.04.2018). It was a long play of 15 songs of indie-pop music in Ukrainian. It was quite important stage of my life when I was trying to follow the lead of the world indie pop culture. To be honest, I created a fairly high-quality product. But it turned out too sweet for me.
Afterwards I decided to come back to more alternative sound but at the same time to keep melodic and sensual components of my previous music. I started working on Joneser’s second album. The work lasted for about 2 years and by the autumn of 2019 I had recorded 12 indie-rock songs in English.
All these 12 songs were included on the second Joneser album, Back Two Me, that was released on all platforms on February 2, 2020. I’m really proud of this album and I do think that the songs “Miraline,” “June,” and “Folie” are the best of what I’ve ever created in my music reality as of today.
Faulkner: Awesome background. Let’s talk more about goals. Have your goals or your perspectives changed since first starting out? What do your aspirations or goals look like now?
Stas Verechuk: Yeah, they have. First, I started my music projects only for fun 5 years ago. I was 35 and I was a lawyer with 15 years of experience in the field of international tax planning. But after recording 52 songs and releasing 5 albums I felt that my goals and my plans had changed. And now I would like my songs and my project to become famous. So that people listen to my songs and they help them to be alive and feel deep emotions.
Faulkner: Everybody is influenced by somebody else. Who would you consider some of your biggest musical influences and how are they influential?
Stas Verechuk: I was always inspired by the music of Apparat, Radiohead, alt-J, Depeche Mode, Foals, Balthazar etc. And I’m the old fan of RHCP, Molotov, Limp Bizkit and Nirvana. If we speak about someone from other fields, I would remember Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, Coen brothers and for sure Martin McDonagh. For me, these are the best examples of creativity in our world. And I try to follow these great people and projects in my work. Not copying them but inspired by their ideas.
Faulkner: Ah, the fun stuff. What’s your craziest tour story or the wackiest thing that’s happened during a performance? Feel free to be creative.
Stas Verechuk: As for live performances, we are a completely new and young project. We only had our first gig on February 18, 2020, at PC “Masterskaya” in Kiev (Ukraine) where we presented our album Back Two Me. We were planning to have gigs on different Ukrainian festivals this year but now we don’t know at all what we’ll have this year because of this terrible situation with the coronavirus.
But I would tell you how I created the album, Back Two Me, in 2017:
“First song of this album (“Miraline”) I wrote 3 years ago when I had terrible trials in my life. At that time, after some very tragic events in my life (death of my father, divorce with my wife as well as a very deep midlife crisis), I started to have panic attacks and stopped sleeping at all. Waves of anxiety rolled one after another and I could not do my business. I used to wake up at 5 in the morning, trembling under the blanket and did not understand how I could survive this day.
I realized that the only thing I could do in that state was to do what I really liked. I suspended the work for half a year, bought a motorcycle, installed Cubase 9.0 on my laptop and began to learn how to create sounds online while eating tons of cherries.
Faulkner: Up until this point in your career, what would you describe as your favorite song you’ve recorded or performed live? What makes that song special?
Stas Verechuk: This is a song, “June,” dedicated to my father, who died in 2016 from cancer. This song is my farewell and denouement with the most important person in my life. I’m really proud that I could write such a light and sensual song in memory of him. You can listen to it here:
Faulkner: Is there anything else awesome, cool, or left of center the world should know about you? Secret talents or surprising tidbits?
Stas Verechuk: I think, it is J I’ve been studying in Ukrainian film school for one, 5 years. Late in 2019 I shot my first short movie. Now it’s being edited. At this time, I’m working on my first screenplay for the full-length movie. I believe that I’ll shoot movies in the nearest time.
Faulkner: Closing this thing out, what is Joneser currently working on, promoting that you can share with us or want us to know about? We love secrets, but there’s no pressure.
Stas Verechuk: Sure. On February 2, 2020 Joneser released a new album Back Two Me in English. All 12 songs of the album are linked by one storyline. They are all about my way, my victories and defeats as well as coming back to myself.
At the same time, we released a video for the song, “Miraline” in the animated short film style. Please, watch it while listening Miraline. You will surely enjoy this dramatic song with appealing vocals over a slow burning instrumentation full of infectious synth lines and dreamy arrangements, with beautiful harmonies and emotional vibes.
In the nearest time we are going to release 2 music videos in the animated short movies style for the songs “June,” and “Going” (both from the album Back Two Me). It is supposed to happen in April and June 2020. Then, 3-4 singles with some music videos are going to be released till the end of 2020. We’re looking forward for the possibility of touring but now the world has much bigger problems then our concerts. So, we are waiting and working on the new material.
Faulkner: Thank you so much for sharing taking the time to answer these questions. I really appreciate the insight. Best of luck moving forward.
Stas Verechuk: Thank you for your time and attention. And really good questions. In was a pleasure for me!